Bath time for your newborn

30 May 2019

Bathing a newborn baby can be daunting at first, especially if your baby dislikes being in water. By making sure that your baby is well-rested, fed and feeling content before you begin, will help a lot in giving them the best chance to enjoy it.

Luckily, it is not necessary for you to bath your baby every day. For a newborns, a bath two or three times a week is enough to keep them clean. However, if they do really enjoy it, it will do them no harm to bath them once a day. This may even help them get into a daily routine. You should, however, avoid too much tub time, as it can lead to drying out your baby’s skin.

If you don’t have a dedicated baby bath, a bathroom sink works just as well, just make sure that it is properly cleaned before bath time.

Get everything ready beforehand. Doing this helps the bathing process flow a lot quicker and easier.

You will need the following to prepare for bath time:

  • Facecloths
  • Cotton wool
  • Soft muslin cloths or cut-up old towels
  • A large towel, preferably made from very soft towelling.
  • A fine-toothed comb


    The temperature of the bath water is a very important factor in bathing your baby. The water should be around 37°C – which is the average body temperature. Use your elbow or the inside of your wrist to check whether the temperature of the water feels right. If you are able to buy a small bath thermometer, it would be a great investment and time-saver in times like these.

    Once everything is ready, keep a secure hold of your baby’s back, unless you are using a body-shaped baby bathtub. Start with your baby’s head and work your way down.

  • Gently wash your baby’s face, ears, behind the ears and neck
  • Lift the arms and wash under the armpits
  • Rub the scalp very gently with the palm of your hand, or you could massage his scalp gently with some water. Their hair needs washing only once or twice a week with just a few drops of tear-free shampoo.
  • Wash the bottom last – if there has been a poo, you should wash the bottom before you start bathing.
  • Make sure you don’t forget to get into the skin folds between the thighs and body
  • Use your hand or a facecloth to wash the back and the legs
  • Don’t forget to get in between the little fingers and toes

During baby’s first month, it is best not to use cleansers or lotions. After the next month or so, you can move onto mild cleansers. It is best not to use soap as these are harsh on baby’s sensitive skin. Soap is not needed even if your baby has made a poo.

When you are done, lift him/her out of the bath and pat them dry. Again, pay special attention to the creases of their skin. This is a great time to give your baby a gentle massage. Massage can often help your baby to relax and sleep.

Bathing is a great way for you to bond with your baby and get them into a routine. Just remember to NEVER LEAVE YOUR BABY UNATTENDED IN THE BATH…NOT EVEN FOR A SECOND!